Federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield has blatantly ignored the advice of his own scientists in setting the 2012 Total Allowable Catch for harp seals at an unsustainable 400,000.
In December of 2011 DFO Research Scientist and Head of Marine Mammal Section Mike Hammill concluded the harp seal population was declining due in part to lack of sea ice and reduced rate of reproduction. As a consequence, Hammill recommended a 25% reduction in the TAC, advising anything in excess of 300,000 would be unsustainable.
According to DFO, the 400,000 TAC was guided in part by “the unanimous recommendation from industry representatives.” In short, the Fisheries Minister ignored the advice of his own scientists and set the unsustainable TAC at the request of sealing/fishing industry lobbyists.
This is not the “science-based precautionary approach” to fisheries management DFO claims to take. This is a blatant sacrifice of our marine ecosystem to buy east coast votes. This is concrete proof DFO’s decisions are based on politics rather than science, and once again our oceans will suffer as a result.
Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield must call an immediate halt to the commercial seal hunt and save our marine ecosystem which has been severely damaged by years of DFO mismanagement.